From Jes Kast-Keat
Not a day goes by when I don't see an image bearer of God begging on the New York streets. Some of the street peeps refuse to beg and instead travel throughout the city to find meals at churches and other places of worship. It is true, there are multiple places for people to find free food in NYC but you have to be willing to travel on the subway. This is problematic because it costs $2.50 every time you jump on the train. So while there are multiple places to get a meal it is not always feasible for the folks to travel to get food. At West End Collegiate Church we offer a soup kitchen to all those wanting a meal. I have become friends with some of those who have learned to survive the streets of the Concrete Jungle. Every week I learn new stories. These stories act as wood to a fire in my heart as I yearn for justice and for “thy kingdom come.”
It can be overwhelming to receive numerous stories about surviving the same streets I walk on, thriving. It can be overwhelming to walk down the streets knowing in each block there is someone asking for money. I get why so many New Yorkers just pass by people. It is very easy to dismiss each person shaking their coffee cup full of change. It is easy to become cynical as one imagines where that change might be spent. But, as a follower of Jesus, we must never become people who dismiss others. We must not grow numb to the image bearers around us. I am not suggesting we are responsible for giving money to each person who is begging -- though I would certainly hope that we find places and people to partner our financial giving with. But we are responsible for offering dignity to each person we meet.